NEW DEVICE SAVES HEART ATTACK VICTIMS

In terms of indiscriminate killers, violent crime and cancer are not as lethal as our nation's consistent number one cause of death - heart disease. To raise awareness to this issue, February is designated American Heart Month.

At the Broward Sheriff's Office we do our very best to keep Broward residents and visitors safe and well. In addition to providing a high level of pre-hospital care by Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, we encourage residents to learn about heart attack prevention. Unfortunately, prevention is not always possible. When heart attacks do occur, lives can be saved if bystanders, as well as public safety professionals, have the tools and training to react and respond. The chances of surviving a heart attack are slim unless trained medical professionals are standing by with advanced life support equipment.

That is changing however, with the increased use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and a new device called the AutoPulse that Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue is adding to its rescue fleet. The AutoPulse is a portable cardiac support pump that provides constant circulation to a heart attack victim when their heart stops. In less than two months of use, I am pleased to report this device has already saved lives. Before the AutoPulse, a heart attack victim had less than a one percent chance of surviving. Research has shown the AutoPulse can raise that chance up to 35 percent and we have already seen very encouraging results in the field. With the AutoPulse and aggressive pre-hospital care by BSO firefighter/paramedics, patients who would certainly have died without this treatment have been revived.

The American Heart Association has set a strategic goal for reducing the death rates from coronary heart disease and stroke. At BSO, we are also committed to do our part to increase survival by using the latest proven technology and training. But reducing death rates from heart attacks cannot be accomplished without the publics' cooperation. Education and reducing risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol must be addressed if we want to impact our nation's number one killer. The Broward Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services has provided CPR/AED instruction to thousands of residents. We have placed more than 900 AED's throughout the county. They are in schools, courthouses, at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, on TriRail trains, in Broward County parks and libraries, as well as BSO patrol cars and facilities.

The Broward Sheriff's Office strives to have the latest lifesaving technology and the best training, but citizens need to do their part to stay healthy. I urge you to:

  • Discuss your risk factors with a healthcare professional.
  • Take a CPR/AED course.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Most importantly, if you think you're having a heart attack, don't wait - call 911 immediately.


BSO's fire rescue and law enforcement professionals are highly qualified and well equipped to respond to life and death emergencies, but as the old saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure."

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